By Rowena Zahnrei
"This is the city of St. Canard. Like any great megalopolis, it shelters its share of criminal conspirators. But the sleeping citizens of St. Canard need never fear the night. They can rest easy knowing they have a protector who is cannier than the most cunning criminal, sneakier than the shiftiest super villain!
"Who is this hero, you ask? There can be only one answer! For, he is the terror that flaps in the night! He is the fearless freedom fighter who forces felonious plots to fail! He is—"
"He is GizmoDu—WHAT!"
Darkwing Duck leapt down from his window-ledge perch in a flurry of annoyance and purple cape.
"What do you mean, GizmoDuck?" he demanded, advancing on his two companions with his bill set in an angry pout.
Gosalyn Mallard glanced up from the TV, an excited gleam in her big, green eyes.
"Oh, hi Dad," she said. "Hey, guess what! While you were up there monologuing, there was a special news flash on TV! Some super smart scientist at Duckburg University just came up with some new kind of super-clean, super-concentrated super-fuel!"
Darkwing's side-kick, Launchpad McQuack, nodded.
"That's right, DW," the good-natured pilot said. "According to the reporter, one teensy little vial of the stuff would be enough to power all of St. Canard for an entire day with no harmful pollution. And guess what it's made of!"
"I don't dare speculate," Darkwing said dryly.
"Recycled cooking grease," Launchpad said. "You know, the stuff they cook French fries and potato chips in."
Darkwing made a face. "And this is exciting, why?"
"Just think about it, Dad," Gosalyn said. "Now, whenever you take us out to eat at Hamburger Hippo, we'll actually be helping the environment! See, I always said junk food was good for you!"
"Humph," Darkwing grunted, crossing his arms over his purple jacket. "That's all well and good, but what does it have to do with GizmoDuck?"
"That's easy, DW," Launchpad said. "Since Mr. McDee is footing the bills for that scientist's research, he hired GizmoDuck to guard her top-secret formula until the trial-run at the Duckburg Power Plant tomorrow afternoon!"
"Well, just so long as that metal-plated milquetoast stays on his side of the bay!" Darkwing huffed. "I can't stand GizmoDuck! He may be the personal bodyguard of Mr. 'I'm the richest duck in the world' Scrooge McDuck, but in my book he's nothing but a sap."
"Why?" Gosalyn taunted gleefully. "Just because his fan club is bigger than yours?
"No! I mean…well, I…" Darkwing sputtered. "That has nothing to do with it! It's because the two of us have radically different crime-fighting styles! For all his brash bluster, without that super suit of his, GizmoDuck would be helpless in the face of any real criminals. I, on the other hand, rely on my amazing agility, my wily wits, my incredible cunning—"
"Your super-high-tech gadgets," Gosalyn added wryly, glancing pointedly around Darkwing's tower bridge hide-out at the various tracking devices, super computers, and souped-up vehicles that cluttered the high-ceilinged metallic space. "C'mon, Dad, admit it. You and GizmoDuck aren't really all that different. You both wear a costume, you both rely on technology to fight crime—"
"Nonsense," Darkwing insisted stubbornly. "We are completely different! His goody-goody one-track mind seriously cramps my subtly sinister style."
Gosalyn snorted. "Whatever, Dad," the nine-year-old said. "But, believe me, there's nothing subtle about your style!"
Darkwing ground his teeth.
"None of this matters anyway!" he exclaimed in annoyance. "Duckburg is GizmoDuck's responsibility, not mine. As long as he and that super-fuel stay there they have nothing to do with me! Besides," he said, snapping into a heroic pose, "it's past time for Darkwing Duck to go on patrol, scouring the streets for evil-doers. Come on, Launchpad! To the Thunderquack!"
Launchpad stood up with a dutiful nod.
"Sure thing, DW. See ya later, Gos."
As the tall pilot ambled over to the powerful aircraft he had custom-built for Darkwing Duck, Gosalyn jumped up to stand on the couch.
"Hey, what about me?" she demanded, her short red pigtails bouncing slightly as she placed her hands on her hips. "I want to come too!"
"Not tonight," Darkwing said, hopping into the co-pilot's seat beside his side-kick. "You've got to get that math grade up, young lady, and I happen to know you wasted the whole afternoon playing Whiffle Boy when you could have been studying."
"But Da-ad!" Gosalyn whined. "That's not fair! The test isn't until Friday!"
"No buts! Just books!" Darkwing retorted. Then, his voice softened. "I'll be in to check on you later, honey. Oh, and don't try to cook anything while we're away!"
With that parting shot, the top to the cockpit closed and the Thunderquack lifted off, zipping out the window and into the clear, late-evening sky.
Gosalyn watched it go, then sighed, slouching over to the pair of blue armchairs at the far end of the room.
"Geesh, you forget to turn off the stove one lousy time and you never hear the end of it," she grumbled. "Oh well, it's not that late yet. Maybe I can still get Honker to fill in my map for social studies."
Brightening slightly at the prospect of cajoling her genius best friend into finishing her homework for her, Gosalyn activated the spinning chairs that would send her back to 537 Avian Way—the unassuming suburban home she shared with Darkwing Duck's unassuming secret identity: Drake Mallard.